Griffith’s Gnat Emerger

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Griffith’s Gnat Emerger.

Griffith's Gnat Emerger Peacock Version |

This is another great fly pattern from Craig Mathews at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, MT. He created a variant of the Griffith’s Gnat with his Zelon Midge and the result was the Griffith’s Gnat Emerger.

If you are a frequent RiverKeeper Flies reader, you surely recognize Craig’s name along with Blue Ribbon Flies. I have many of their fly patterns on the website. In addition, I wrote a couple of blogs – Craig Mathews and Blue Ribbon Flies and Craig Mathews Winter Seminar which includes pictures of flies he tied. Both of these posts are popular here at RiverKeeper Flies. Continue reading

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Confusing Mayfly Names

Do you know the names of all the bugs you see on the river or lake? Do you need to know these names to catch fish? Not at all. Fly fishers have developed their own common names over the years for many bugs in order to share information about recent fishing trips. I have to say that I can identify a lot of bugs, but there are some confusing mayfly names that even I have difficulty with.

March Brown Adult |

When I explain bugs to beginning fly fishers, I start with basic information about the three major bugs important to their fishing success. Stoneflies have wings flat along the top of their body. Caddisflies have a tent-shaped wing. Lastly, mayflies have upright wings which look like sailboats floating in the water. Knowing this basic information is a start for sharing with other fly fishers. Continue reading

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Stalcup CDC Loop Wing Emerger

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Stalcup CDC Loop Wing Emerger.

Stalcup CDC Loop Wing Emerger |

This fly was the creation of Shane Stalcup, a talented and innovative fly tyer. The fly pattern sheet can be found HERE.

I first learned of Stalcup’s flies in his book Mayflies “Top to Bottom” (2002). I thought it was interesting looking at the materials he used to create close imitations to the real insects. It was the first time I had heard of Medallion sheeting. It wasn’t long before I had that material in several colors. Many of the flies in his book used biots for bodies. This fly is no exception.

Stalcup created some wonderful fly tying videos and those videos can now be seen on my friend John Sherry’s Youtube NetKnots Fly Tying channel. I encourage you to take a look. Be sure to check out his video of the Stalcup CDC Loop Wing Emerger.

Unfortunately, Shane passed away prematurely in 2011 at the age of 48.

Many of his flies can still be purchased in your local fly shop. You might give them a try. Watch a video or two of Shane tying his flies. You’ll see how “fishy” they really are.

Enjoy…go fish!


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Restocking and Organizing Your Fly Boxes

Winter is a great time for restocking and organizing your fly boxes. How many fly boxes do you carry? How do you organize them?

Fly Boxes |

It’s been too long and my fly boxes have seen some serious neglect the last few months. I fish over 100 days a year. How many over 100? I used to count them. Continue reading

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Preparing Mallard Wings for Soft Hackle Flies

Last week, I took advantage of the snowy weather which has kept me off the river and and said “yes” to an opportunity. A friend of mine who is a duck hunter gave me a call to see if I wanted any feathers. How could I say no? So this week’s post will be about preparing mallard wings for soft hackle flies. For the non-fly tyer, check out a few great fly patterns below to add to your fly box. You won’t be sorry!

I asked him to save the mallard wings along with a few breast feathers. 

Mallard Wings |

I hoped he would keep the matching wings from each bird separate so I could use them for dry fly upright wings and wet fly wings used in some of the classic Ray Bergman flies you see occasionally in Throw Back Thursday Flies. Continue reading

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Stock Up on Trout Flies

I’m headed back to the vise this week to stock up on trout flies.

I finished my last “plate” fly for the season. It was an Atlantic Salmon fly called the Blue Charm, a “Simple Strip Wing”, my contribution for a Central Oregon Fly Tying Guild fly plate. This plate will be at the NW Fly Tying & Fly Fishing Expo on March 10 and 11, 2017 in Albany, OR. (See this week’s upcoming Throw Back Thursday Fly post for more information on this fly.)

Blue Charm |

I’ve enjoyed learning new fly tying techniques. The Green Butt Skunk Spey fly was the other “plate” fly I tied and donated. I hope it is one of the Spey Plate flies for the NW Expo as well. Continue reading

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Lempke’s Extended Body Green Drake – TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Lempke’s Extended Body Green Drake – TBT.

Image result for Lempke's extended body green drake

Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Pittendrigh (

Cyril ‘Bing’ Lempke (1917 – 1991) was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, but moved to Idaho as a youngster. He fished the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and the Teton River during his teens. It was there he learned to tie flies. Continue reading

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Braided Butt Damsel

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Braided Butt Damsel.

Braided Butt Damsel |

I first found this fly in Randall Kaufmann’s book Tying Dry Flies (1991) in the early 1990s. I tied the fly using the instructions from the book and took it to Antone Ranch in Eastern Oregon when it was a pay-to-play lake. I can still remember the toilet-bowl takes from the huge trout in some of their lakes. The trout were cruising along the shallow reeds and our trip had timed the damselfly hatch just perfectly. Continue reading

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